Speaking to reporters at conference yesterday, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton said he wanted to see better market surveillance and custody for digital currencies before being comfortable with a crypto ETF.
Crypto advocates, traders, and investors alike will by now be tired of being attacked by bears and are eagerly awaiting the US regulator’s approval of Bitcoin ETFs. However the man responsible for approving one still has a lot of lingering doubts according to CNBC.
Speaking at the Consensus Invest Conference in Manhattan, Clayton said;
“What investors expect is that trading in the commodity that underlies that ETF makes sense and is free from the risk of manipulation. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed before I would be comfortable.”
His beef here was that investors may not get a fair assessment of price depending on which exchange or platform it was obtained from as they do not use the same metrics as stock exchanges for monitoring prices.
It seems that the SEC is still worried about market manipulation, a reason the regulator cited earlier this year when it rejected nine applications for ETFs including the one from Gemini, the Winklevoss brother’s exchange. The approval of one would bring on a wave of others which could affect market prices and bring about a turnaround in the bear market.
There are already a couple in the pipeline including funds from NYSE owners, ICE, and VanEck which are due for launch in January. Nasdaq have also entered the fray with hints that they too are about to launch a Bitcoin futures contract powered by market prices and surveillance from VanEck.
Further concerns that Clayton mentioned revolved around custody, or the storage of digital assets.
“We’ve seen some thefts around digital assets that make you scratch your head. We care that the assets underlying that ETF have good custody, and that they’re not going to disappear,” he added.
Crypto custody is big business with the likes of Coinbase, Fidelity and Goldman Sachs already invested in the space. But Clayton still said that they “need to be improved and hardened.”
He also issued a masked warning to ICOs telling them that they should assume that their token is already a security before applying for approval. As we have seen previously, those not adhering to SEC securities regulations get swiftly and unceremoniously rejected.
The message is still clear; this will not be an easy path for crypto and Bitcoin. But with bigger players entering the space it is just a matter of time until all the regulatory boxes are ticked and a crypto ETF hits the market.